This interesting surname of English origin with variant spellings Shercliff, Sheircliffe, Shirtcliffe, Shirtliff, Shetliff, Shitliff, Shitliffe, Shatliffe, etc., is a dialectal variant of the locational name Shirecliff in Sheffield, Yorkshire, deriving from the old English pre 7th Century "scir" meaning "bright" plus "clif" "cliff, or rock". The surname dates back to the late 14th Century (see below). Further recordings include Robertus de Shikclyf (1379), "the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire" and Thomas Shirtliffe (1510), "A Descriptive Catalogue of Sheffield Manorial Records". Catherine Shatliff married Francis Anderson on February 11th 1789 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, Charlotte, daughter of William and Charlotte Shatliffe, was christened on July 16th 1809 and Thomas, son of Richard and Elizabeth Shitliffe was christened on April 5th 1811 at St. Mary Rotherhithe, London. During the Middle Ages when it was increasingly common for people to migrate from their birth place to seek work further afield, the custom developed that they would adopt the placename as a means of identification. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Shirclyf, which was dated 1379, in the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux" 1377 - 1399. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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